By Nathan Terry
Prior to the St. Michael’s men’s basketball team’s game on Saturday at the University of Vermont, six black St. Michael’s players and three white coaches took a knee during the national anthem. Other members of the 14 member team linked arms in solidarity.
According to Seven Days, boos from a mostly white audience rained down from the stands, as well as some clapping. Several fans shouted “stand up” at the players, while others responded in defense of those kneeling. The players and coaches not kneeling linked arms with each other during the anthem, and several UVM players walked over after the anthem had concluded to shake the hands of the players that kneeled.
UVM player Skyler Nash tweeted after the game that the booing “really pained [him” and that “140 characters isn’t enough to do this issue justice but just know [he] wasn’t the only one who heard it and this is far from over…”[The UVM men’s team] will be back November 22nd just wait on it…”
UVM President Tom Sullivan sent out a statement Thursday evening. “Going forward, it is my sincere hope and expectation that the behavior in Patrick Gym, and at all University events, will be grounded always in the respect and civility for which our athletic program and our University are well known,” he wrote.
UVM Athletic Director Jeff Schulman also released a statement Thursday, in which he said: “I realize that there are varying perspectives on the issue of kneeling during the anthem and I respect the differing opinions that exist. However, I also want to emphasize that the University and Athletic Department are committed to ensuring that our student-athletes and coaches, visiting teams, and fans are able to participate and experience our games in an environment that is free from threats, intimidation, and/or harassment.”
St. Michael’s athletic director, Chris Kenny, and President John J. Neuhauser have not made statements regarding Saturday’s game.